Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale has been emotionally exhausting. The cruelty of Gilead continues to surprise both June and the audience, and episode 10 "The Last Ceremony" was certainly no exception. After a false labor, Fred and Serena Joy Waterford decide they cannot wait for their baby, and therefore get their Handmaid out of the house. They decide the best way to trigger labor would be through intercourse, and attempt to bring back The Ceremony. But this time June fights back, and they force her down and sexually assault the protagonist a last time. It's one of the show's most harrowing sequences, and one that is sure to be the subject of controversy. Writer/producer Yahlin Chang recently explained the choice to show June's rape onscreen, saying:
The overall concept of The Handmaid's Tale is terrifying, where members of the population are routinely raped in hopes of procreation for the Gilead's high ranking officials. Handmaids are stripped of their identity, living mostly as bodies within the household. As such, Fred and Serena's minds would be able to justify having an unscheduled Ceremony, hoping it might help bring June to labor in the process.
But this Ceremony was different, as June outright fought against her rape. Ultimately Fred and Serena force her to submit, with Offred dissociating from herself in the final brutal moments. In her conversation with TV Line, Yahlin Chang addressed writing the scene, specifically after the cast, crew, and audience have become so numb to The Ceremony.
The silent horror of The Ceremony was also portrayed through the opening moments of the episode, where Emily (Alexis Bledel) was shown attempting to get through it. Her Commander ultimately has a heart attack during the act, and she managed to give him a few kick to the groin while help was called.
The Handmaid's Tale releases new episodes Wednesdays on Hulu. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode of your favorite show.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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